Click here to order the July 2016 issue in which this article appeared.
The direct selling industry is at a critical juncture in its long history. The global economy and world of direct selling have reached a strategic inflection point that is being driven by many factors, which include technological innovation, a hyper-connected world, the gig economy, instant gratification, customization, simplicity, and the rise of entrepreneurialism, to name a few.
All of these factors have significantly influenced consumer behaviors and expectations, and have forever changed how direct selling will be conducted and viewed. Companies are struggling to find a place within the new paradigms taking shape in our industry. The most critical areas where I see direct selling companies lagging is in training and the adoption of new technology.
When we looked within our own company we realized that, in order for LifeVantage to thrive in this new paradigm, we had to reinvent ourselves or run the risk of becoming obsolete. It is critically important for us to continue to evolve our field training and our technology, specifically in the areas of communications, recruiting, the onboarding of new Distributors, and our go-to-market strategies.
Communication today is greatly affected by the Internet and the rise of social sharing. Social media instantly takes communication to the international community. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet or laptop has the ability to send and receive information from anywhere in the world. Companies must embrace the Internet and social media as viable tactics for real-time, global communication, and incorporate this new standard into their existing communication strategies to cope with the rise of social selling.
By embracing technology we have positioned LifeVantage as an important income stream within the gig economy or, as it was described in Direct Selling News’ May 2016 cover story, the “YouEconomy.” The classical definition of a gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. This new YouEconomy is focused on the needs of the individual versus those of the corporation, and touts selecting jobs based upon personal interest regardless of location, working from home, being your own boss and better work-life balance. By providing state-of-the-art training, applications and technology platforms, we are positioning LifeVantage to offer greater financial stability, higher earning power, both residual and passive income, low cost of entry and low risk.
Knowing all of this, I would like to quickly present several major initiatives where LifeVantage has focused its efforts in order to thrive in this evolving business environment—the implementation of new technologies, training, and leveraging technology to execute faster go-to-market initiatives.
As I previously stated, companies need to adapt to the new standards taking shape within our industry. We have deployed resources in this regard at LifeVantage, utilizing technology in a variety of applications that have streamlined our enrollment platform, enhanced business management tools for our Distributors, and further driven customer engagement. We have leveraged new technologies to better facilitate the subtle nuances of our particular industry, including enrollment, business management and customer retention through the use of multiple, business-specific Distributor apps that create a closed-loop system that allows our Distributors to increase their social currency. We have implemented an aggressive content generation and publishing platform that allows our Distributors to share information about our company, our products, and our industry, and position themselves and our company as thought leaders within our space. We also have introduced new e-tools designed to simplify the introduction of our company and our products, and shorten the time required to complete a transaction.
In addition, we have integrated social media into our direct communication strategy with our field. By leveraging Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Live and Periscope, we can engage our people where they are, and speak to a broader audience in real time. With me being a relatively new CEO at LifeVantage, people want the opportunity to connect with me on a more personal level. Periscope allows me to interact with our more than 20,000 followers and make a personal connection with them, show my personality and share personal experiences with them that they otherwise would not get to see. The response from our field has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am able to build relationships with people who I otherwise might not get to meet.
Now we are implementing a state-of-the-art onboarding program that functions independently and remotely from sponsors, and that mentors and engages new Distributors upon enrollment and helps them launch their new business, duplicate their efforts and create trust networks. It is designed to walk Distributors through the process to successfully manage the recruiting and onboarding process of new Distributors and customers alike, and it demonstrate what “good” looks like from a LifeVantage perspective.
Within the Distributor field, we have revised the format of our events to include more training segments to ensure that we provide Distributors with the opportunity to develop on both the professional and personal level. In order to accommodate the additional training segments we have added a full day to the event and introduced a business-building seminar hosted by network marketing strategist and trainer Eric Worre that is intended to help Distributors further develop their network marketing careers by teaching them the skills necessary to succeed in our industry. We have also introduced an expanded science seminar to provide more detailed training regarding our products and the science behind them. Additionally, we have added a personal development training segment to the agenda. Our objective is that our Distributors leave our events feeling enlightened and energized to go out and build strong Trust Networks that will become the foundations of their respective businesses, and for LifeVantage, for years to come.
As our company has evolved, so too has our go-to-market approach for launching new products, as well as other business-building initiatives, by leveraging the worldwide web. The use of cyber launches is a new strategy that we have executed with great success to launch new products. Cyber launches provide multiple additional engagement touchpoints to create excitement amongst our Distributors and customers, and allows us to reach a much larger audience live and in real time.
Our multipronged approach to successfully execute these cyber events begins with announcing our intention to launch the product several months prior to the cyber event. This allows Distributors the ability to promote the coming product and host larger groups of active and potential customers and distributors to watch the event together. This facilitates a face-to-face cultural event that engages people who otherwise may not get together.
Then we execute the actual live cyber launch, which we broadcast live worldwide through our corporate website. More than 50,000 people in 21 countries have viewed each of our previous cyber launch events, which is exponentially larger than any company-hosted on-site training event. The cyber launch provides us with another major event without having to book a location, coordinate travel, and take our Distributors out of the field. Additionally, we can schedule in real time, and host them during typically slow months to provide excitement and greater focus on the business. Further leveraging technology, we then host a product-specific webinar, which we broadcast live worldwide through our corporate website the week following the cyber launch event to present more in-depth details on the science behind the product or products. Finally, we leverage our next major on-site event to conduct additional product training for the newly launched products, and generate additional excitement around them.
We already have seen a positive impact on our company by taking such a deliberate approach to enhancing our training and embracing technology. We have experienced double-digit growth in revenue quarter over quarter, a double-digit increase in recruitment of Distributors and customers, and a nearly 100 percent increase in productivity in Distributors’ first 30 days with the company. And our most recent product launches, which were both cyber launches, have both either met or exceeded our projected forecast.
It is safe to say that the direct selling companies that can quickly and properly embrace these new paradigms will become the legacy companies of tomorrow.
Darren Jensen is President and CEO of LifeVantage.